Defense Roundup: Knowledge is Power (and Profit) in Contracting

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How a Bright Idea in 1983 Helped Deltek Corner the Market in Government Contracting Services

Kevin Sullivan and Marjorie Censer (@CommonCenser), Washington Post. Sullivan and Censer offer a very interesting look at how a private company founded 30 years ago became a key component of the modern federal procurement system and has done it with most Americans having never heard of them. Deltek is a business built on the foundation of one of the key commodities in Washington, D.C. – understanding the government bureaucracy. Founded by Donald deLaski after years as an accountant for businesses working with the federal government, and using the new personal computers of the time to transfer his deep knowledge to a useable electronic format, the company sold last year for $1.1 billion. Today Deltek is one of the most successful “capture consultancies” in business helping those who want to gain contracts with the government win them and represents how the capital region has become one of the richest areas in the country. Definitely worth the long read to see behind the curtain of the government contracting world and how information is a big money maker in this sector.

F-35 Production Depends on Tests Not Budgets, Carter Says

Tony Capaccio (@acapaccio), Bloomberg. Deputy Secretary of Defense Ashton Carter is leaving his position soon and has been making the rounds in a series of final interviews and speeches before departing. Speaking with Tony Capaccio last week, Carter explained that in DoD’s view the future of the much questioned F-35 fighter isn’t so much based on budget issues as much on the continued successful testing of the aircraft. While nothing is truly safe in today’s budget environment, Carter feels the program has made substantial improvements in the last four years. Most recently the Congressional Budget Office added an option that would save $48.5 million through 2023 by cutting the F-35 at the 150 currently on order and buying existing F-18s and F-16s that will likely see little traction with a system built in 45 different states. The inexorable march of the most expensive weapons system in history will likely continue as South Korea announced this week they would purchase 40 of the aircraft as their next fighter. Interestingly though, they also announced they would buy 20 of a different aircraft as a hedge on delays or issues with the Joint Strike Fighter. Everyone is enthusiastic about the program…with a caveat.

Politico’s Phil Ewing has a sketch of the next most expensive fighter jet/submersible. Get bidding, LockMart.

Obama Administration Looks to Scrub Security Clearance List

Josh Gerstein (@joshgerstein), Politico. The federal government is embarking on an ambitious effort to reassess whether the 5 million Americans with security clearances have received them properly and whether they still need that clearance. After a series of embarrassing leaks of classified information including the ongoing disaster surrounding former NSA contractor Edward Snowden, the intelligence community is asking itself whether the massive number of personnel with clearances is more of a risk than limiting those that do. Director of National Intelligence James Clapper has asked all agencies to scrub their rolls and remove access for those who are deemed not to need the right to view the nation’s secrets by the end of January. With 1.4 million individuals carrying ‘Top Secret’ clearances, the task won’t be an easy one to accomplish but it’s certainly the right question to ask after recent revelations. It was revealed just last week that Navy Yard shooter Aaron Alexis lost his clearance with his company after a run in with police and then had it restored a mere six weeks before his deadly rampage. There are serious questions about the effectiveness of the current system in light of all of the incidents of the last year.

First Female Marines to Graduate Infantry Training: ‘It Takes Everything You Got’

Hope Hodge Seck (@HopeSeck), Military Times. As we reported previously, three women have done the historic by graduating from the Marine Corps’ enlisted infantry training. Until this week, the women’s identities had been unknown and our first glimpse at the four was through an Instagram selfie posted by one of the group. The three women, ages 18, 19, and 25, won’t be heading to infantry careers, though. The Marines are still piloting women in infantry training and are hoping to see 300 female graduates before making a decision on integrating women into infantry specialties. The Pentagon has given the services until January 1, 2016 to determine which combat jobs will be open to women, but for some current servicemembers like Staff Sgt. Jennifer Hunt, that isn’t soon enough. Her enlistment date is coming up and her career choice may be based on whether she can go to Ranger School. Even one of the Marine graduates reminisces about her dad, a former recon Marine, and how she would love to be a mortarman. “It just seems cool,” she said. Three more companies at enlisted infantry school are training women and 39 of them still remain.

Number of Homeless Vets Drops, but VA Goal Might Be Out of Reach

Leo Shane (@LeoShane), Stars and Stripes. The Department of Housing and Urban Development this week announced the results of its “point-in-time” survey of the homeless population conducted in January. The 58,000 homeless veterans in 2013 is a decrease from the 63,000 homeless veterans in 2012 and an overall 25 percent decrease since 2010. In 2010, the Obama administration set a goal to end veteran homelessness by 2015, but some advocates like John Driscoll from the National Coalition for Homeless Veterans say that goal may need to be re-examined with only two years to go. The goal has focused government, private sector, and community efforts on the problem of homeless veterans even if the goal isn’t achievable, Driscoll says. “Programs are headed in the right direction. But we’re only beginning to see what the real demand for services will be for the younger veterans,” he says. Veterans homelessness isn’t going away, but it has gotten a necessary influx of attention and funding with the 2015 goal.

Service Members Left Vulnerable to Payday Loans
Jessica Silver-Greenberg and Peter Eavis. New York Times.

‘We Take Care of Each Other’: Military Families Already Prepping for Another Government Shutdown

Bill Briggs (@writerdude), The same slow economic recovery that hasn’t improved homelessness numbers as quickly as the administration had hoped is also impacting the financial situations of servicemembers and their families. These two articles illustrate different ways the economic uncertainty are having devastating effects. Short-term payday loans are landing servicemembers in cycles of debt despite protections passed by Congress intended to minimize predatory lending targeted at the military. Why are these servicemembers turning to payday lenders? A look at the cars parked outside the lender in the New York Times story gives one an idea. That 81 percent of middle class servicemembers are not confident the government will avoid another shutdown gives one another idea. That anxiety is spurring frugal behaviors among military families according to the survey detailed by NBC News. Because many military spouses are federal employees, the household income drops during a shutdown despite military pay being exempt. Addressing financial literacy will be essential to helping servicemembers avoid payday lenders, but so too will an overall economic recovery and a functioning government. It shouldn’t be too much ask when it comes to troops and their families.

Separate Jail Facilities Seek to Cut Recidivism Rates Among Veterans

Tony Perry, Los Angeles Time. Veterans in the judicial system often don’t get any unique support. Some localities offer veterans’ courts for those veterans entering the system and now San Diego County is taking that a step farther by putting veterans together while in jail. Giving the veterans separate housing with classes specifically tailored to their needs offers them a chance at a more successful post-prison life.

In Tornado-Ravaged Illinois ‘War Zone,’ Veterans Find a Mission

Alan Greenblatt, NPR. We may devote our headlines and Tweets to Team Rubicon’s work in the Philippines, but their veteran volunteers are deployed nationwide, too, from Alaska to Texas and now to Illinois. For so many of these veterans, giving back to these communities is a way of healing the invisible wounds of war.

Should have been a Duffel Blog: The U.S. Army Has a Clothing Line, and It’s Pentagon-Approved. ScoutComms recommends the “desert” hoodie for all of your holiday giving needs for your least favorite Army majors.

Tradeshows & Conferences

No tradeshows this week but we recently updated our full list of upcoming tradeshows

Congressional Hearings

Both chambers are in recess for the holiday

Think Tanks & Other Events

New America Foundation: The National Security Agenda: Foreign Policy Challenges in Obama’s Second Term Who: Ambassador Dennis Ross, Counselor, Washington Institute for Near East Policy, Former Special Assistant to President Obama, Former National Security Council senior director for the Central Region, Former Special Advisor to Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, Anne-Marie Slaughter, President and CEO, New America Foundation, Former Director of Policy Planning, U.S. Department of State, Robert Kaplan, Chief Geopolitical Analyst, Stratfor, Senior Fellow, Center for a New American Security When: 12:15 PM, Tuesday, November 26, 2013 Where: 1899 L St., N.W., Suite 400, Washington, D.C. 20036

World Affairs Council: Foreign Policy Series: New Hope for Nuclear Negotiations with Iran, or Further Disappointment? Who: Amb. John Limbert, US Naval Academy, Dr. Trita Parsi, National Iranian American Council When: 6:30 PM, Tuesday, November 26, 2013
Where: 1608 Rhode Island Ave NW, Washington, DC 20036

Fred Wellman, President ScoutComms, brings us his weekly review of defense industry news via The Scout Report. Fred served over twenty years as an Army officer in both aviation and public affairs. You can follow Fred on Twitter @ScoutComms.


This entry was posted on Monday, November 25, 2013 5:55 pm

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